Britain’s Graham Jarvis claimed his fifth victory at the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble in an awe-inspiring Austria mine to boost his World Enduro Super Series title chances.
Delivering a clinical performance at the 25th edition of the infamous Hard Enduro race, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing star led home Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) by just over two minutes and Sherco Factory Racing’s Mario Roman of Spain.
The world’s best Enduro riders were among 1702 competitors (49 women) from 43 nations at the mining town of Eisenerz for the four-day dirt bike festival.
After two days of Blakläder Iron Road Prologue, Josep Garcia (KTM) proved the fastest of the 500 qualifiers for Sunday’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble.
From the depths of the Europe’s largest iron ore quarry, competitors blasted off the start for the 35km race with four hours to complete the 27 checkpoints.
Lettenbichler set the early pace, taking over from Garcia and Briton Jonny Walker (KTM), but the 21-year-old was soon joined by 44-year-old legend Jarvis.
Jarvis broke clear to lead at the notorious Carls Dinner section, while the Sherco pairing of Roman and South African Wade Young were locked in a battle for third.
Lettenbichler, chasing his debut win, drew level at Green Hell with four checkpoints to go but Jarvis found another gear to secure a record-equalling fifth victory.
The German, though, takes over the 2019 WESS championship lead from Roman and Jarvis with 2018’s ULTIMATE ENDURO CHAMPION Billy Bolt in sixth ahead of the Hixpania Hard Enduro in three weeks.
Sixteen competitors from seven nations completed the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, however Spain’s Laia Sanz was not one of them despite a gutsy ride.
Jarvis said: “This feels amazing. I think this could be the most important Erzberg victory of my career. A lot of people were talking about my age and, at 44, I did have some doubts about my fitness for the full race but I just kept my focus and kept pushing.”
Lettenbichler added: “I’m super happy to finish second. When Graham passed me, I did all I could to stay with him and got right onto his rear wheel in Green Hell. If I’d have got ahead of him there, well, who knows what might have happened. From there to the finish I gave everything, but I couldn’t catch Graham.”
Roman, 29, revealed: “So many riders crashed in front of me on the first climb after the start, so I just tried to be calm and not make any crazy mistakes. After that I started to find my rhythm, passing riders one-by-one. To finish third is a great result.”
2019 Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble result:
1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GBR) 2:26:46
2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 2:28:55
3. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 2:32:19
4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 2:36:28
5. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 2:41:07
6. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 2:50:41
7. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GBR) 2:52:46
8. Jonny Walker (KTM – GBR) 3:00:25
9. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna – ESP) 3:08:57
10. Travis Teasdale (KTM – RSA) 3:20:12
11. Lars Enöckl (Husqvarna – AUT) 3:39:47
12. Jonathan Richardson (Husqvarna – GBR) 3:39:50
13. Dieter Rudolf (KTM – AUT) 3:42:44
14. Trystan Hart (KTM – CAN) 3:55:21
15. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 3:56:18
16. Xavi Leon (Husqvarna – ESP) 3:56:23
World Enduro Super Series after round 3 of 8
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 1960 points
2. Mario Roman (Sherco – ESP) 1770 pts
3. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GBR) 1690 pts
4. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 1665 pts
5. Jonny Walker (KTM – GBR) 1520 pts
6. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GBR) 1465 pts
7. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna – ESP) 1464 pts
8. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 1460 pts
9. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 1370 pts
10. Nathan Watson (KTM – GBR) 1271 pts